After a succession of emails to-ing and fro-ing between myself and Crooked Cat yesterday, we can finally announce that the fourteenth Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, Trial by Fire will be with you on Friday, August 7th, and here is the cover to prove it.
It’s a slight shift in direction from the usual Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries. I’m saying no more than that, other than to tell you that this time, Joe has professional help from private investigator, Denise Latham, a lady we first met in STAC #13, A Theatrical Murder.
I’m giving away very little about the new title, because I want it to surprise you. However, I’ve included a small taster right here.
Joe and Denise have turned up at the home of Rodney Spencer, a man who lived close to the murder victim and a witness to some of the events that night.
She sighed. “Mr Spencer, you’ll forgive me, but if you deal with your customer queries like this, you’d be hauled over the coals. Now, I’m investigating both the fire at Mr Murray’s old premises, and the fire at Mr Vaughan’s. Mr Murray has been cleared of any involvement… almost, and we’re keen to help the police in any way we can. I’m sure Mr Murray didn’t mean to accuse you of the crime, but it would help if you could tell us how you came to see this Ford turn up at Vaughan’s place?”
“I was walking my dog, if you must know. He’s getting on in years, and I always walk him late at night to ensure there are no, er, accidents, if you take my meaning. Now if that’s all…”
Spencer left the idea hanging, hinting that they should go away.
“Not quite,” Denise said. “May I ask, did you or any of your neighbours have, er, problems with Vaughan? You know, house subsiding or anything like that?”
“I can’t speak for my neighbours, but for myself, from a business point of view, I never found Gerard Vaughan anything but professional. We knew before we bought the house that it was built over old mine workings, and such minor problems as we did have with subsidence, were put right quickly and with the minimum of fuss. He was, as I say, thoroughly professional.”
“He was a crook who burned my café down,” Joe argued.
Spencer looked over his glasses and down his nose. “That is matter for the police, I should imagine.”
Denise spoke before Joe could cause more argument. “That was the businessman. What about personally.”
Again Spencer’s look was one of undisguised disdain. “I didn’t mix with his sort.”
Joe, who had been mentally grumbling at the lauded opinion of Vaughan, looked up sharply. “His sort?”
“Parties up at the big house. Unseemly parties. With plenty of men and women. Not the kind of men and women you would take home to meet your mother. I’m sure you understand me, Mr Murray. Now if you will excuse me, my wife is preparing lunch.” Spencer backed into the house, and closed the door behind him.
Joe and Denise gaped at the door, then at each other.